Bio

Mana currently serves as the Executive Director of Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), the largest Iranian-American grassroots organization dedicated to community building and youth empowerment. IAAB strengthens the Iranian diaspora community through leadership and educational programming that encourages collaboration and solidarity across various borders and multiple communities. Mana first joined IAAB in 2006 and has led the organization since 2008. Under Mana's leadership, IAAB has grown into a leading Iranian-American community organization and has been featured on CNN and CNN International, The Washington Post, Huffington Post and PBS Frontline's Tehran Bureau. IAAB and Camp Ayandeh, its celebrated high school leadership camp, were also featured in äóÖThe Limits of Whiteness; Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race,äó» a ground-breaking work about shifting racial status in the United States. IAAB is the organizational plaintiff in IAAB v Trump, a legal challenge against the Muslim Ban that succeeded in obtaining an injunction in the 4th circuit. Mana created a national network of more than 20 Persian heritage language schools and is the Language Representative for a national coalition of community-based heritage language schools. Mana also organized a national network of over 50 affiliated Iranian-American student organizations. Mana was also a steering committee member of the Iranians Count 2010 Census Coalition (ICCC).

Mana is the former Education Director of Response Centre International, a volunteer Greek NGO created in response to the refugee crisis. As part of her role, Mana developed the first comprehensive educational program for refugee youth in Greece. The program became the basis for various camps and combines innovative youth leadership practices with practical techniques currently in use by international organizations working with refugee youth in the United States, EU and Middle East. The program also ties in experiential youth leadership practices, social justice principles, dual language immersion lessons, and trauma sensitive curricula. 

Prior to leading IAAB, Mana was a Field Organizer at Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), leading the organization's work in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as other parts of the South. Mana campaigned on maternal healthcare, immigration, the death penalty, and national security issues. Mana helped organize various national, regional, and state conferences and programs for and on behalf of AIUSA. Mana served as a member of the Southern Human Rights Network's steering committee, co-organizing the Youth Summit and Southern Human Rights Organizers' Conference, as well as serving on various regional human rights collectives. Mana was a member of AIUSA's Southern Regional Office, advocating on behalf of Troy Davis, and helped coordinate actions in Savannah, Georgia during his evidentiary hearing in federal court. Mana also led numerous trainings and workshops, participated in panels at universities throughout the South, and organized events with coalition partners such as the ACLU, NAACP, and other human rights and social justice organizations. 

Mana received her Bachelor of Arts from Emory University in International Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, along with a minor in Persian. While at Emory, Mana co-organized a lecture series focusing on Iran that brought together academics, artists, and community leaders from within the Iranian diaspora. Mana was a Rhoda Kaufman Scholarship recipient and a steering committee member of Center for International Living.

Sub-specialties: Iranian diaspora, identity and youth development, community building, immigration, millennial/gen z issues, refugee crisis, refugee youth education, social and racial justice, human rights